CATEGORY: RUN Track & Field
HED:Tupelo Invitational set for Saturday
By D.E. Wheeler
With the high school cross country season winding down, many area Northeast Mississippi runners will be winding their way through the campus of Tupelo High School Saturday.
The reason? The annual Tupelo Invitational cross country meet.
"I'm looking forward to it very much," Tupelo cross country coach Buddy Prince said. "I like the way we have the course set up, and runners will have a number of different surfaces to cross."
Prince is expecting over 20 teams for Saturday's meet, which begins at 9 a.m. with the junior high girls race. Prince said the plan is for 25 minute intervals between races, with the junior high boys the second race, followed by the Division II girls, Division I girls, Division II boys and finally the Division I boys at approximately 11:25 a.m.
In varsity competition, the schools will be divided into two divisions, with Division I being Class 4A and 5A schools, and Division II Class 1A, 2A, and 3A.
"Oxford has been the class of Mississippi in both boys and girls this season, and should be favored to win in Division I," Prince said. "Although the match up with Oxford and defending 5A state champion Starkville in the boys race could be good.
"In Division II, Pontotoc is the favorite their."
Prince says that the layout on the Tupelo campus should be good for spectators. The course features a 1,000-meter loop on the south part of the campus, finishing around the football field.
Tupelo Update: Prince feels the Tupelo boys team has had a disappointing season thus far, though he liked the effort it had at its last meet in Niceville, Fla.
"We ran a good race at Niceville last week, finishing 10th out of 20," Prince said. "But it was a very tough field of teams from all parts of the South, and I was very proud of the way the team ran."
Prince likes the way Phil Ard, Ray Tackett, Trey Upchurch and Dale Griffin are running right now, overcoming a mixture of early-season lack of conditioning and injuries.
Prince has been very pleased with the consistency of the girls team, especially the top four runners, Jessica Yarber, Celeste Anders, Rachel Ewing and Bishop Porter. He also likes the way eighth grader Anna Warren is coming on lately.